At the time, I was balancing (unsuccessfully I might add) a full 3rd year semester of nursing school while working as an information technology consultant, struggling financially (because university baby), and dealing with adrenal insufficiency. In the middle of it all, somehow, signing up for a hiking challenge seemed like a good idea.
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” ~ John Muir
It was a f**king good idea with one hell of a surprising result.
It became my mediation. My zen. My recharge. It is my spiritual place. I would even wake up at 3am to hike a local mountain just to watch the sun rise over the valley. A study by Stanford University brought quantifiable evidence of what most of us know naturally – that getting outside and “walking in nature could lower the risk of depression”.
“In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous.” ~ Aristotle
Change of social scene.
Right, so time is a factor in my life. Likely in yours as well. Eventually I’ll slow down, but at the beginning of the year there was no way I’d have time for hiking and socials. So naturally, hiking became my socials. Want to hang out? Great, grab your hikers and I’ll come pick you up. Yes, even in the winter.
“There is no such thing as bad weather ,only inappropriate clothing.” ~ Sir Rannulph Fiennes
A beautiful surprise.
This is the surprising butterfly effect I couldn’t have imagined. By signing up for the challenge, I started to get outdoors and hike with consistency. During those hikes, I’d often bring fellow nursing students and friends who weren’t familiar with the trails with me. These hikes would also be posted with pride on Facebook and Instagram. Next people would ask to join me or ask recommendations for local trails.
And then a beautiful thing happened. I started noticing that the people I took hiking started taking others hiking. Friends that I gave trail recommendations to started venturing out with their families. They posted these hikes proudly on social media – no doubt influencing others. And the cycle began…
There are no words to express how much it filled my heart to see the ripples of a small action turn into such a large positive outcome.
Do I deserve all the credit? No, heck no, and that not the point. The point is that the simple action unknowingly influenced and help nurture a positive outcome for others. That right there makes my heart sing.
Goal unmet, or was it?
You know that old quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” right? Well, I didn’t complete the 52 hikes before the year end. Admittedly I was it a little panic last month when I realized it wouldn’t be possible! Then the clouds part and the sun came through…it didn’t really matter that only 38 hikes were completed. It really didn’t, and to stay that I’m happy with push to get outdoors and its effects is an understatement. This is really friggin’ cool.
The challenge also lead to discovering more local hikes and hidden gems like chutes de Denholm in Quecbec. It led to taking a month off to explore the Canadian Rockies and Colorado trails with incredible people. It has fueled the fire for the new year!
No surprise – I signed up for the 52 Hike Challenge again this year.
Have you completed the 52 Hike Challenge? Are you signed up for this year? Let me know your favourite hikes!